Anxiety, that familiar companion many of us know all too well, often pays us unexpected visits in our lives. It creeps in, uninvited, and we find ourselves lost in a whirlwind of unease and uncertainty. It’s easy for our worries and ruminations to take up prime real estate in our lives, giving us tunnel vision that blocks out everything else around it – the good and the bad.
Journaling is a surprisingly effective way to attack anxiety and help yourself stay grounded in the present. Writing your worries on paper is a small but powerful way to take control over your thoughts and shift your focus elsewhere.
King David, who most notably wrote 73 Psalms in the Bible, was known to write about his anxiety and worry. Psalm 142, for example, is an honest and raw cry for help where David pours his heart out before God – and onto paper. He shares a few thoughts that perhaps you can relate to as well:
- “My enemies have set traps for me.” (Verse 3)
- “No one cares a bit what happens to me.” (Verse 4)
- “My persecutors are too strong for me.” (Verse 6)
Whether you relate to David’s thoughts or have anxieties of your own, journaling is a great way to overcome your most worried and fearful thoughts. Here are 5 journaling prompts for anxiety that will help you express yourself and start to find healing.
5 Journaling prompts for anxiety
There are many studies proving significant benefits all-around for journaling – putting your heaviest thoughts and feelings on paper – in terms of both physical and psychological improvement. A recent study surveying nursing students, for example, found that journaling helped them manage their anxiety symptoms and even helped to reduce them.
If you’re wondering how to journal for anxiety, these prompts can help you get started:
1. Think of a time when you were really anxious but the situation went better than you expected. What did you learn from that experience? Anxiety can be very future-focused, causing us to worry about the unknowns and what-ifs that lie ahead. By remembering a time in the past where the worst-case scenario didn’t happen, you may find yourself able to view your current situation in a more positive light.
2. List the best-case scenario that could happen based on what you’re anxious about. Is this maybe just as likely as the worst-case scenario? It’s all too tempting to assume the thing we’re most afraid of is what’s going to happen, but for all those what-ifs, we need to ask ourselves what if what we’re hoping for does happen? What if we get good news? What if the situation works out? Or, what if it’s at least not as bad as we thought it would be?
3. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given someone else when they were anxious? Write out what it would sound like if you gave that same advice to yourself. This prompt forces you to map out exactly what you’d tell someone else if they were in your shoes – then challenges you to internalize and receive that same advice.
4. Write a goodbye letter to your anxiety. What do you want it to know before it leaves? As a follower of Christ, one thing your anxiety needs to know is that it’s not in control of your life. God is. He is working everything out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). You may choose to remind your anxiety of this truth in your goodbye letter, or some other Bible verses or quotes about anxiety.
5. List three things or people that made you smile recently. You might feel like anxiety is an uninvited guest in your headspace, and gratitude can help kick it out. A simple place to start is by writing down things that made you happy recently. Even something as simple as a snuggle from your cat or an especially good morning coffee count! When you have your list, say a simple prayer thanking God for the things written down before you.
Anxiety can feel crippling and overwhelming, leaving us with a sense of powerlessness. But you have more power over your anxiety than you realize – and a lot of it lies in a pen and paper. We hope these journaling prompts for anxiety give you a good starting point to express your feelings and rediscover peace and healing for your mind.
Anxiety is hard, and we’d hate to see you try to navigate it alone. We’d love to share some additional resources for anxiety that you may find helpful:
A Guided Meditation for Anxiety and Depression You Can Do Anywhere
Who Do I Talk to About Anxiety?
Does Mental Illness Make You a Bad Christian?
Or check out LCBCchurch.com/Anxiety for more resources to help you attack your anxiety.
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!